avast! Professional Edition PDF Print E-mail

avast! Professional EditionThe verdict:

For a free antivirus program, avast! Antivirus offers an excellent service, and for the average person who uses their computer to surf the net and check emails the level of protection is perfectly adequate. Independent test have shown AVAST’s antivirus protection to be as good as virtually any of the standalone commercial programs on the market.

However for more frequent users, and in particular those who rely on their computer for work, using only an antivirus program may not offer enough protection; a full internet security suite may be required to protect against threats before they occur. Free antivirus programs simply don’t offer the same level of security as full internet security suites, mainly due to a lack of components which are designed to prevent system infections, such as email, link and instant message scanners. The complete review is written below the info box.

Performance

AVAST has been awarded an impressive rating of 4.5/5 by both CNET editors and users, and is consistently one of the most popular free antivirus programs on the website, along with main competitor AVG.

AVAST’s detection and cleanup performance is very impressive for a free antivirus program, and many reviews have scored AVAST higher than some popular commercial programs; tests carried out by independent antivirus company AV-Test have shown AVAST’s free antivirus Software as matching, and in some cases beating, some of the most popular and well known commercial antivirus Software on certain tests. AV-Test’s report found AVAST’s free edition to detect 100% of the 5000 widespread Malware samples, with similarly impressive results reported throughout the review.

During tests by PC Magazine PCMag, AVAST scored a perfect 10/10 for rootkit blocking as well as scareware, while other test results were also excellent, such as blocking downloads, where AVAST score 89%, higher than any other antivirus program.

AVAST is also extremely quick to run a full system scan, topping AV-Comparative’s test to find the best scanning speed. System resource usage from AVAST is also relatively low which reduces the risk of the system freezing during a scan compared with other programs which use more resources.

Performance Rating: 8/10

Features

As this program is a simple virus scanner as opposed to a full security suite, the features are fairly limited, however there are a few handy features built into the Software. One of these is the ability to offer or receive remote assistance through the program; using a security code system, AVAST users can remote connect to each other’s machines and offer support and advice on any issues, meaning that any technical problems can be resolved quickly.

Another useful feature of AVAST’s Software is the boot-time scan, which runs a scan on startup, often eliminating any threats before they have a chance to launch and cause any real damage to the system. There are also a number of shields available to protect against potential threats before they have a chance to infect the system. As prevention is the key to a virus-free system these features are welcome additions to the program, and offer an added layer of protection for the user.

AVAST does offer a number of optional features which can be added to the program, however these are unfortunately not free. Some add-ons such as a rescue disc, annual backup service and password manager EasyPass may offer peace of mind for the user, but buying too many of these extra features could become more expensive than just buying a full internet security suite.

Features Rating: 7/10

Ease of Use

AVAST’s user interface is straightforward enough; unless more advanced users wish to delve into the program settings, the only options required are to Update the database of known threats, and to Scan the system for threats, either through a full system scan or a quick scan, checking only the most sensitive areas of the system. AVAST free antivirus was listed as having the fourth highest usability score during a 2011 test by independent antivirus organisation AV-Test, beating well known antivirus programs such as Norton Internet Security and McAfee Total Protection.

By default, AVAST pauses the scan whenever it finds a threat, only resuming once the user has decided the course of action for that threat. Compared to other programs which will report all threats at the end of the scan and can therefore be run in the background or when the user is away from the computer, requiring action for each potential threat can be frustrating for the user, as well as adding unnecessary time onto the length of the scan.

One thing which users may find irritating is the “in your face” manner of advertising where the commercial version of the Software is promoted several times, both during and after installation of the free Software. While the company can hardly be blamed for promoting the commercial product, the constant adverts can become annoying. In addition, those who don’t use the Custom Installation option may find some additional programs installed on their machine, such as Google Chrome.

Ease of Use Rating: 8/10

Support

Like most free antivirus programs, database updates can be slow in comparison to commercial Software. One of the main selling points of the commercial antivirus Software is the speed in which updates are made available when new threats are discovered, so these are generally held back for free users to encourage them to upgrade; in this sense AVAST is no different from the rest of the market.

A very active user forum is available on AVAST’s website, where users are encouraged to ask questions and offer advice. Unlike some independent forums, questions raised on AVAST’s forums to tend to be resolved very quickly. In addition, AVAST have an area to raise queries directly, along with an extensive knowledgebase of responses to previous queries from users. AVAST’s built in remote support system is also extremely useful, allowing experts to connect to your machine remotely to diagnose or resolve any issues.

Support Rating: 8/10

 

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